Jawbone

"Very Good"

Jawbone Review


Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the ring, but there's also some real emotional depth in the script by actor Johnny Harris and the direction by Thomas Napper (who was second unit director on Beauty and the Beast). So even if the film's plot feels somewhat contrived, the movie has strong resonance in its characters and situations. And it's shot and acted in a remarkably realistic way.

Harris stars as a has-been boxer named Jimmy, who has been evicted from his flat because his building is due to be demolished. With nowhere to go, he turns to his old gym, assuring his former trainer Bill (Ray Winstone) that he has stopped drinking and participating in unlicensed fights. But as Bill's pal Eddie (Michael Smiley) begins to coach him back into shape, Jimmy secretly turns to local gangster Joe (Ian McShane) for help to make some extra cash in an underground boxing match against a notoriously ferocious opponent (Luke J.I. Smith). Then it turns out that Bill and Eddie are hiding something from Jimmy as well. And that they know all about his upcoming fight.

Napper directs the film almost like a documentary, never indulging in melodramatic flourishes as these tough men carefully guard their emotions. He also avoids all rah-rah sports movie cliches. There are no soaring training montages, and the fight scenes are shot without any slow-motion dramatics or rousing music. They feel fiercely true to life, and very painful too. Harris is terrific in the raw central role, a likeable guy whose fiery temper continually gets him in trouble. He may cause his own problems, but he genuinely wants to be a better man. His scenes with Winstone and McShane are terrific, but it's his more prickly connection with Smiley's Eddie that gives the film its soul. Smiley provides Eddie with a wonderful inner life that connects with the audience in surprising ways.

All of this is so sharply assembled that we don't mind too much when the story takes some rather corny turns. Even then, the film feels fresh and honest, and it explores big issues like alcoholism without ever sensationalising things. Through the entire story, Jimmy feels hopelessly out of his depth, a loser who is certain to lose this climactic fight. So it's impossible not to root for this scrappy underdog. And since we so vividly identify with his inner struggle, the movie is able to surprise us with where it goes and inspire us with its underlying themes.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 21 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th May 2017

Production compaines: Revolution Films, Emu Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Thomas Napper

Starring: as Jimmy McCabe, as Joe Padgett, as William Carney, as Eddie, Luke J.I. Smith as Damian, Anna Wilson-Hall as Mary

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.